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Scientific Research

Scientific Research: 

Scientific Research and Research Chairs:

  • Dr. Nasser Al – Rashid Research Chair
  • Glaucoma Research Chair

Dr. Nasser Al-Rashid Research Chair

The vision of Dr. Nasser Al-Rashid Research Chair in Ophthalmology is to enhance clinical and laboratory investigations in diabetic retinopathy and intraocular inflammation. One of our major objectives is to study pathophysiological mechanism of diabetic retinopathy using human vitreous and tissue samples from diabetic and nondiabetic patients, animal models and retinal cells culture. The second objective is to discover molecular targets for therapeutic intervention in order to treat diabetic retinopathy at its earliest stage.

Dr. Nasser Al-Rashid Research Chair in Ophthalmology has well-equipped laboratory.  Modern techniques and major equipments in our research laboratory include Confocal laser microscope, Immunohistochemistry, Immunoblotting, Multiplex bead based luminex, ELISA, Real time PCR and tissue culture techniques. We use Sprague Dawley rat and MMP-9 knock-out and C57BL/6J mice model.  Most of the scientists/researchers in our team including the international collaborators have gained worldwide recognition for major accomplishments in their field of interest. Major collaborating institutes of Dr. Nasser Al-Rashid Research Chair in Ophthalmology are  University of Leuven - Rega Institute for Medical Research, Belgium; Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, USA; Kressge Eye Institute, USA; Georgia University, USA; and Diabetes Research and Metabolism Unit, Institue de Recerca Hospital Universitari Vall d’Hebron Research Institute, Barcelona, Spain.

So far, Dr.Nasser Al-Rashid Research Chair in Ophthalmology researchers and scientist has published more than 70 manuscripts in highly reputable journals.

Research Areas

  • Inflammation
  • Angiogenesis
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Oxidative stress
  • Apoptosis

Group Members

Prof. Ahmed Abu El-Asrar (Chairman)
Prof. Ghislain Opdenakker (Consultant)
Dr. Ajmal Ahmed  (Scientist)
Mr. Mohammad Mairaj Siddiquei (Research Assistant)
Mr. Adnan Jastania (Technician)

Glaucoma Reserch Chairs


Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of vision loss worldwide.  The term encompasses a heterogeneous group of conditions that lead to optic nerve atrophy usually by virtue of increased intraocular pressure (IOP).  Recent years have witnessed an exciting development in the understanding of the genetics of glaucoma thus allowing for the first time a molecular insight into the pathogenesis of this common public health issue.  Fortunately, genetic analysis is highly suited for glaucoma for various reasons.  First, ophthalmologists have long recognized the presence of a subgroup of glaucoma that follows a mendelian form of inheritance (recessive or dominant).  With large enough families, linkage analysis is a very powerful technique that can quickly identify the culprit genes in these families.  Second, even the more common forms of glaucoma that don’t typically follow a clear mendelian pattern of inheritance are known to cluster in families.  Just as has been shown with other common diseases in medicine, this clearly indicates the existence of “genetic predisposition” that may differ between various populations. The current high throughput genetic platforms make it possible now to dissect the underpinning of such predisposition with far reaching implications not the least of which is the ability to “predict and prevent” rather than to “identify and treat”.  As will be explained in details in this proposal, our Saudi population is uniquely suited for the genetic study of glaucoma.  In this proposal, we will outline our plan to identify the genetic factors that underlie glaucoma in our country.  Far beyond an academic exercise, this bold project has a real potential to change the current approach to glaucoma from “intervention” to “preemption” and represents a major step toward adopting molecular medicine in daily practice.

Studying the genetics of glaucoma in Saudi Arabia is of great interest to the scientific community given the unique nature of our population from a genetic perspective (see below), but also, and more importantly, is of great clinical importance to the Saudi patients for the following reasons:

1- Identifying the genetic lesion (mutation) that underlies a mendelian form of glaucoma will enable prevention by virtue of prenatal diagnosis, preimplantation diagnosis or even premarital counseling.

2- For those conditions that manifest with glaucoma later in life, the identification of the underlying genetic lesion will help clinicians identify those at risk thus allowing for early management to avoid complications.  The concept of using genetic diagnosis for the identification of high risk individuals is particularly relevant to glaucoma, a disease that is highly suited for primary and secondary screening given the high efficiency of available therapy and the lack of symptomatology in its early stages.

3- Cataloging the various genetic lesions and correlating them with the resulting glaucoma phenotype will provide clinicians with a potentially powerful prediction tool that allows them to prognosticate based on the individual patient’s genotype.

4- The discovery of previously undescribed genetic lesions opens the door for future research that could lead to the development of novel treatment strategies.

The Saudi population is historically inbred and is characterized by high level of consanguinity and large family size.  These characteristics are particularly helpful in genetic research such as the one proposed in this project.  The high degree of inbreeding and consanguinity leads to overrepresentation of very rare autosomal recessive forms of glaucoma.  Not only will these forms be more common, and thus more accessible, but they will also be easier to analyze because one can safely assume that the disease is caused by homozygosity for a defective allele inherited from the ancestor common to both parents.  The tool of homozygosity mapping, described in methods, is very powerful in determining the locus of the culprit gene in this setting.  The large family size, on the other hand, makes it possible to determine the haplotype that segregates with the defective allele in autosomal dominant forms of glaucoma.  Therefore, even though autosomal dominant conditions are not made more common by consanguinity, our population’s large family size makes linkage analysis more practical compared to other populations with small family size.

Major Objectives:

-  Mapping genes associated with certain types of glaucoma common in Saudi  Arabia.

-  Determine certain genetic markers associated with various types of glaucoma,

This can be used as a marker for the disease development or progression.

 - Identifying possible genetics signatures for glaucoma.

Members of the Research chair:

Group Leader:

Saleh A. Al-Obeidan, M.D
Department of Ophthalmology, College of Medicine
King Saud University, Riyadh, KSA

Members of the Research Group:

1. Altaf A. Kondkar, Ph.D.
Asociate Professor
Department of Ophthalmology, College of Medicine,
King Saud University, Riyadh, KSA
2. Essam Osman, M.D
Department of Ophthalmology, College of Medicine
King Saud University, Riyadh, KSA

Laboratory Staff:

1.  Mohd. Taif Anwar Azad, MSc
Department of Ophthalmology, College of Medicine
King Saud University, Riyadh, KSA
2.  Tahira Sultan, MSc
Department of Ophthalmology, College of Medicine
King Saud University, Riyadh, KSA


Last updated on : January 12, 2023 3:19am